How to Become an International Lawyer (With Skills and Salary)

Updated 23 April 2023

Becoming an international lawyer means settling international disputes like trade, business and criminal issues. Their job includes drafting legal documents, researching laws on an international level and representing clients in the court. These lawyers undergo extensive training to stay aware of the laws worldwide and negotiate effectively, and learning more about this career could help you determine whether it's the right path for you. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to become an international lawyer, explain what international law is and mention the top skills you may develop to become a successful lawyer.

How to become an international lawyer

These steps show how to become an international lawyer:

1. Complete an undergraduate degree program

Most law schools require you to have an undergraduate bachelor's degree. With this, you have the freedom to choose any subject to attend law school, but many law students choose degrees in government, history and economics. Additionally, you may benefit from completing a bachelor's degree in national studies. Learning a foreign language can help you understand the language and culture and provide a foundation to understand the basics of affairs worldwide.

Regardless of your undergraduate program, make sure you complete the Priestley 11, which covers the complete knowledge to become an international lawyer in Australia. This is a three-year course to satisfy the academic requirements for admission in your desired jurisdiction.

2. Complete practical legal training

The Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice can be obtained in around six months, and most of the providers offer online coaching to help you earn the certification. This diploma is essential to find a work placement and move on to Admission to Legal Practice. This is where you get up to eight days of supervised legal experience by a professional lawyer with over three years of experience.

Related: How to Become a Lawyer in Australia

3. Admission to legal practice

Law graduates in Australia can apply to the state relevant Admissions Authorities by the Supreme Court of an Australian state or territory within the five years of graduation. Another thing to note is that the admission filling date needs to be four weeks before graduation.

In most cases, you have a legal counsel represent you to move your admission. Suppose you currently hold an academic qualification in Law like LLB from a country outside of Australia. In that case, you may enrol in Victoria after the Victorian Legal Admission Board has assessed your foreign qualification.

4. Practising certificate

After finding the job and completing 80 days of training, apply to the local Law Society for a Practising Certificate. Once you attain the Practising Certification, it is your decision to either remain a solicitor or work further to become a barrister. You may study LLM to specialise in law after this stage.

Related: Attorney vs Lawyer: What's the Difference?

5. Pass the Bar exam

The law system of Australia operates with solicitors and barristers. Here, barristers are people who specialise in different legal matters, resolve disputes and represent clients in court. Each state has its own legal Bar authority with certifications to help you become a barrister. This includes gaining entrance to the Bar Readers' Course and achieving a satisfactory score in your exam.


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What is international law?

International law is about understanding how countries' regulations counteract together, solve problems on an international level and advise people to help them stay away from unexpected restrictions and lawsuits. Here are the three main types of international law:

1. Private international lawyer

Private international law, also known as Conflict of Law, is a type of international law that involves resolving disagreements between private individuals and organisations across national borders. Typically, one private company or organisation hires a private international lawyer. For example, if a company in one country sues a company in another country for products liability, a private international lawyer may address the issue.

2. Public international lawyer

Public international law oversees the legal issues between nation-states and international organisations. Public law is also responsible for taking care of natural and juridical matters in other nations. They are usually in charge of international human rights, treaty law, criminal law and the Law of the Sea.

3. Supranational lawyer

Lawyers specialising in supranational law negotiate contracts and settle disputes based on the limitation of the rights of sovereign nations. This is when these nations submit to the judicial decision to address conflicts based on the body of rules. Most attorneys have complete knowledge of different legal systems to advise clients above the state's authority.

Related: What Does a Corporate Lawyer Do? (And How to Become One)

What does an international lawyer do?

International lawyers advise organisations, individuals and government entities regarding the legal rights and recommend the best outcomes for each case. This means you, as an international lawyer, may specialise in intellectual property, security law and taxation to gain full insights into international affairs. Some of their other duties include:

  • Handling accounting and project management software to deal with different client data

  • Negotiating with different global settings and language barriers

  • Researching and managing the various elements of the case

  • Using computer skills to store and retrieve data in times of need

  • Drafting and organising legal documents

  • Studying the case and consul individuals

  • Sending out legal emails and notices

  • Using legal engines to extract data

  • Communicating with the parties involved in the case

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Here are some of the skills that can help you become an international lawyer:

Commercial awareness

Clients usually expect their lawyers to have a complete understanding of how the business operates. This means it's helpful to keep yourself informed about the latest industry news and studying wider political, economic and social issues that may affect your client's business. This skill can also be useful when you may think strategically about the business by assessing its weaknesses, strengths, competitions and opportunities. Through it all, you can develop skills to give pragmatic business legal advice to your clients.

Related: Examples of Hard Skills Employers Look For

Attention to detail

Accuracy is crucial when researching data related to the case and drafting contracts. This means creating documents with correct grammar, formatting, spelling and statistics, so you only convey the relevant and precise ideas to your clients. Thus, lawyers with this skill typically produce higher quality, error-free work.


Winning cases are usually a result of a team effort. As a lawyer, you work alongside people with different levels in the legal hierarchy ranging from barristers to pupils; good team working skills can help you become comfortable solving the case. Most high-profile cases even involve travelling to countries where you may collaborate with tour guides, former members of the jury associated with the client and other law firm resources that can offer help in situations outside of your expertise.

Related: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples


Strong verbal and written communication skills are crucial when you're arguing in court. As lawyers work with clients with different nationalities, top-notch communication skills can help you converse comfortably despite the language barrier. This way, you become more confident during negotiating settlements and simplifying complex information for your clients. It also required public speaking and excellent listening skills for a lawyer to convey their case clearly. As a result, you build better rapport, save time, money and get good referrals.

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Creative problem solving

The best course of action that yields positive results requires unique strategic thinking and the ability to consider both sides of the argument. It can be a prominent asset when you are looking to come up with new ideas to solve different cases every day. This means creative problem solving can help you achieve extraordinary results that can shift your career as an international lawyer from good to great.

International lawyer average salary

The average salary for a lawyer is $100,642 per year in Australia. This figure may vary depending on the geographical location, lawyer's training and experience and company. Typically, lawyers working in enterprising companies or more experienced lawyers tend to get higher salaries. In Australia, lawyers in some states earn more or less than the average salary; these states include:

  • Queensland: $108,152 per year

  • Victoria: $95,162 per year

  • New South Wales: $109,061 per year

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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